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训练大脑,让你生产力更高的七个窍门

Laura Vanderkam 2015年03月09日

成功人士都掌握一门绝技:最大化自己的创造力和效率。在普通事务上少花时间,把更多时间用于创造性、回报高的事情。而对于普通人来说,我们也可以让大脑少思考一些问题,比如给物品找个去处;为想要记住的事情建立触发机制;不要纠结于不重要的事物等,把精力放在重要的问题上。

    进化是一个缓慢的过程。就人类的发展史而言,那段聚居于小型部落并以打猎为生的日子离我们并不遥远。那时,在人的一生中,打交道的人不会超过一千个。我们的大脑生来就是为了应对这样一个世界,而不是为了无休止地应付那些铺天盖地而来的工作和家庭事务。

    难怪我们会觉得自己无法集中精力而且压力重重,特别是经常要驾驭混乱生活的职业女性。我对已婚高收入女性进行研究后发现,在她们中间,经常加班的约占75%,在日常工作期间处理个人事务的也占75%左右。总有一些事情要让人分散时间和精力。

    不过,麦吉尔大学神经学家丹尼尔•列维京在其畅销书《有组织的头脑:在信息过载时代做到心平气和》中写道,虽然“我们的基因还不能完全满足现代文明的需要,幸运的是,人类的知识可以做到这一点。现在,我们对怎样突破进化局限有了更进一步的认识。”

    成功人士“都学会了通过安排好生活,最大化自己的创造力和效率,这样,自己便可以在普通事务上少花一点儿时间,并把更多时间用于完成让人精神振奋、感到舒适和满足的事情。”对于真正的名人来说,要做到这一点需要很多人共同努力。而对于其他人,列维京的建议是让大脑少思考一些问题,以平复心绪,并把精力放在重要的问题上。

    • 给物品找个去处。列维京写道:“人类对地点的记忆力已经进化了几十万年,目的就是记住那些不动的事物,比如果树、水井、山峰和湖泊。”我们每天不会频繁外出,因此我们不会小心翼翼地记下汽车钥匙、手机和钱包等物品的位置。对这些东西我们总是随手放置,然后花很多精力去找它们。怎么解决这个问题呢?给这些东西找个家,比如门旁边的盘子或挂钩。可能的话,每件东西都买双份,比如在办公室和家里都放一副眼镜,在厨房和工作室都放一把剪刀,这样就不用把它们拿来拿去了。

    • 为想要记住的事情建立触发机制。在一生中,很多时候我们都处于“自动导航”状态,这是大脑保存能量的一种方法。但问题在于,一旦开启某项例行程序,我们的大脑就不会发出暂停指令并提醒我们在这个过程中还有别的事要做。不过,如果记录到了新的信息,我们的大脑就会发出警告。列维京写道,因此,“可以用环境来提醒自己有哪些事要做。如果担心自己在开车回家的路上忘了买牛奶,就可以在副驾驶位置上放一个空牛奶盒;如果是坐地铁,就可以把它放到公文包里。”我们的大脑会发现这个东西跟环境格格不入,从而脱离“休眠”状态。这种关注新鲜和意外事物的倾向正是电子邮件或短信提醒让我们如此兴奋的原因。利用这一点,为自己愿意花时间的重要事务建立提醒机制,比如联系老朋友,再比如跟合伙人约个时间见面。

    Evolution is a slow process. In the timeline of our species, we’re not far removed from our days of living in small clan groups, hunting and gathering to survive. We would encounter no more than a thousand people in our lifetimes. Our brains were built for that world, not one where incessant interruptions at work and at home fly at us like swarms of angry mosquitos.

    No wonder we feel distracted and stressed — particularly professional women who are often managing lives that don’t stay neatly compartmentalized. In my research on high-earning women with families, I’ve found that about 75 percent do work tasks outside of work hours, and an equal proportion do personal tasks during the normal business day. There is always something competing for time and attention.

    But while “our genes haven’t fully caught up with the demands of modern civilization, fortunately, human knowledge has,” writes McGill University neuroscientist Daniel Levitin in his bestselling book,The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload. “We now better understand how to overcome evolutionary limitations.”

    Highly successful people “have learned to maximize their creativity, and efficiency, by organizing their lives so that they spend less time on the mundane, and more time on the inspiring, comforting, and rewarding things in life.” For true VIPs, this can involve a staff of dozens. For the rest of us, Levitin offers suggestions on how to create the calm that comes from giving our brains less to think about, so we can focus on what matters.

    • Give things a place. “Place memory evolved over hundreds of thousands of years to keep track of things that didn’t move, such as fruit trees, wells, mountains, lakes,” Levitin writes. We didn’t exactly transport much daily, which is why we’re not wired to keep track of things such as car keys, cell phones, and wallets. We misplace them, then spend much mental energy finding them. The answer? Give these things a home, such as a tray or hook by the door. When possible, buy duplicates so things don’t have to move: reading glasses for work and home, scissors for the kitchen and home office.

    • Create triggers for what you want to remember. We go through much of life on auto-pilot. It’s one way our brains conserve energy. The problem is that once you start a routine, your brain isn’t going to stop you to remind you of something else you intended to incorporate. But the brain does go on alert when it registers something new. So “use the environment to remind you of what needs to be done,” Levitin writes. “If you’re afraid you’ll forget to buy milk on the way home, put an empty milk carton on the seat next to you in the car or in the backpack you carry to work on the subway.” Your brain will recognize this out-of-context item and interrupt its reverie. This bias toward the new and unexpected is also why emails or text alerts make us so excited. Use this to your advantage, and set up reminders for important things you’d like to take time for: connecting with old friends, scheduling a date with your partner.

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